Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sourdough Rye with Bleu Cheese

This is a bread that I have been meaning to make for quite some time. I bought the cheese for this a few weeks ago, but had to put off making the loaf till now. I actually chose an apple wood smoked gorgonzola for this bread. The cheese not only sounded wonderful, but it was also affordable. Also, I remembered the autolyse this time, and that is a wonderful thing!

This has a nice aroma: a good mix of tangy mold and smokiness! I would use it again for this bread. It was as local as I could get without baking a ten dollar bread.

I really love the flavor that is created during the smoking process. This cheese is cold-smoked, which means that the smoking process does not cook the cheese, but rather just provides the flavor and preservation qualities of the smoking process. I have cold-smoked in the past. When I was an Intern at the Chatham Bars Inn on Cape Cod, MA., Brian Erskine and I used to smoke our own salmon for the breakfast buffet. It was such a cool process. I will have to replicate it sometime in the future, assuming I am not paying for the salmon because salmon it is way out of my budget. 

This bread called for a stiff levain sourdough starter. Because I did not have enough of the stiff levain sourdough, I used half stiff levain and half rye sourdough starter. I was okay with this! Any excuse to get more rye flour into a bread is always okay by me. This bread formula called for medium or light rye flour, but I went ahead and used whole rye flour. I like the character that it adds to the bread. Overall, I think that this bread was a bit heavy and it did not see a lot of rise during bulk fermentation; but I was okay with this. I really did not want a light bread. I wanted a bread with substance that would stand up well against the smokiness and saltiness of the cheese and this bread definitely achieved this. 

I took several pictures of the dough just before and during the mixing process, so I will explain the mixing process through a series of photos with captions. 

In this photo you can see three layer, this lowest layer is the autolyse which contains the bread flour, whole rye flour and water, the second layer is the starter and the third layer is the salt. 
Here is the bread after two minutes of mixing on first speed. 

You can see the gluten strands beginning to develop around the dough hook

This picture was taken after two minutes of mixing on second speed. 
As you can tell the dough has a smoother appearance and is just about ready for bulk fermentation.

Here is a picture of the dough after 45 minutes of bulk fermentation. This dough is ready for a fold

The dough just after the only fold it receives after one hour of buk fermentation. The dough then receives 2-3 hours of bulk fermentation prior to shaping and stuffing the dough with the bleu cheese.
After bulk fermentation the dough was broken into two equal sized pieces. Each piece was then flattened into a rough square and was then lined with 8 1/4" chunks of bleu cheese. It was then rolled very tightly around the cheese. It was sealed and then placed in an 8" loaf pan. A 1/4" slice was made in the top of each loaf and more cheese was stuffed inside this pocket. The bread was then allowed to proof 45 to 60 minutes. The dough did not rise considerably.

A close up of the bleu cheese stuffed into the pocket

The oven is then allowed to preheat for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. These loaves are baked for 30 minutes with normal steam. I used the ice cube technique, but I was not crazy about the results and next time I will go back to the spray bottle and the splash technique. (This technique requires you to take a shot glass of water and throw the water at the side of the hot oven.  Do not throw the glass because it will shatter :) ).

And finally a picture of the finished loaf:

I love the appearance of the caramelized cheese on the crust
This bread was very good, but without the cheese it would have been nothing special! The crumb has a very flat taste and perhaps it would have been better with the use of only the stiff levain. However, that was not an option today. I have since rebuilt my starters. The cheese also seems to only be on the top of the loaf rather than inside the loaf. I have only sliced into one of the two loaves that I made. I was hoping that the cheese would be more spread out in the dough. I am going to have to make this bread again. Next time I will make sure that the chunks of cheese get mixed directly into the dough. I think that will make for a better bread.

Bake On


  1. Oh my goodness it looks so delicious!!!!

    1. Thanks! It was quite good, but the crumb lacked flavor. I am looking forward to trying this bread with the new fruit flavored stilton, I think it would be wonderful with the lemon stilton!I will place the cheese right inside the dough rather than just in top! It will be even better.